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Radiation: Nausea and Vomiting


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Radiation can cause nausea, vomiting and dry heaves.

  • Nausea is when you feel sick to your stomach and feel like you are going to throw up. 
  • Vomiting is when you throw up food and fluids. 
  • Dry heaves happen when your body tries to vomit even though your stomach is empty. 

Your risk for nausea and vomiting depends on how much radiation you are getting, how much of your body is in the treatment area, and whether you are also having chemotherapy.Nausea and vomiting may occur 30 minutes to many hours after your radiation therapy session ends.

  • You are likely to feel better on days that you do not have radiation therapy. 
  • You may feel nauseous or vomit the day or night before radiation in anticipation.

There are steps to take both before and after radiation to help reduce the possibility of nausea or vomiting, or the severity. For instance, relax before radiation. Afterward, eat small, easy to digest, meals of foods that are easy on the stomach.

Ask your doctor about medications to control nausea or vomiting.

Keep track of your symptoms to help a discussion with your doctor or other health care provider. We have a symptoms diary you can use to keep track. When you are ready to see a doctor, you can change your diary into an easy to read graph. See "To Learn More."

It is helpful to carry a bag with you in case you get nauseous outside your home.

It is helpful to carry a vomit bag with you 24/7 “just in case.”  

For additional infomration, see: 

NOTE: Also carry a List of Medications in case of emergency. Emergency personnel need to know what medications you are currently taking and have recently taken. We provide a form to use that you can store and change as necessary. 

To Learn More

Related Charts

Symptoms Diary

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